- Joe Breitfeller
Alaska Airlines Takes Delivery of First Boeing 737-9 MAX, Will Enter Service March 1st
The carrier marked a new phase of fleet modernization with the delivery of their first Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft on Sunday. Alaska Airlines’ pilots flew the aircraft from the Delivery Center at Boeing Field to Sea-Tac with a small group of top leadership onboard.
On Monday (January 25, 2021), Alaska Airlines announced the delivery of their first Boeing 737-9 MAX. The aircraft was flown by Alaska pilots from Boeing’s Delivery Center at Boeing filed in Seattle to Sea-Tac International Airport on Sunday with a small group of the company’s leadership onboard. Five weeks of preparation will now begin as the aircraft will enter passenger revenue service from March 1st, 2021 with daily roundtrip flights between Seattle and both San Diego and Los Angeles. Alaska’s second 737-9 MAX is expected to enter service later in March. In Monday’s announcement, Alaska Airlines’ President, Ben Minicucci, said,
“We've eagerly waited for this day. It was a proud moment to board our newest 737 aircraft and fly it home. This plane is a significant part of our future. We believe in it, we believe in Boeing and we believe in our employees who will spend the next five weeks in training to ensure we're ready to safely fly our guests.”
Also commenting on the company’s training, Alaska Airlines’ Vice President of Flight Operations, Captain John Ladner, added,
"Our pilots are the best trained in the industry. With the 737-9, we're going above and beyond with our training program, even more than what the FAA is requesting. We have high confidence in this aircraft. It's a tremendous addition to our fleet, and we're ready to start flying it in March.”
Teams from Alaska Airlines across various divisions will now follow a strict readiness timeline on actions which must be completed before passenger flights including rigorous test flying and verifications. Maintenance technicians will receive 40 hours of “differences training” on the variations between the company’s current 737 NG fleet and the MAX, with some techs receiving op to 40 hours of additional training specifically on the aircraft’s engines and avionics systems. Company pilots with put the plane through its paces with over 50 flight hours and approximately 19,000 miles, including test flights between Alaska and Hawaii. Additionally, Alaska pilots will undergo eight hours of MAX-specific computer-based training over two days before flying, including a minimum of two hours training in the company’s own state-of-the-art MAX flight simulator.
Deliveries of Alaska Airlines’ Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft will be completed using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supplied by Epic fuels. Alaska will receive a total of 68 Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft over the next four years, with an option for 52 more. The company is scheduled to receive 13 of the aircraft during 2021, 30 in 2022, 13 in 2023 and 12 in 2024. The 68 new aircraft will replace the airline’s Airbus fleet, as the company moves toward a single more efficient, profitable, and environmentally sustainable mainline fleet.
Alaska Airlines and their regional partners serve over 115 destinations in the United States and North America, providing essential service for their guests and critical cargo shipments, while emphasizing Next-Level Care. The carrier has hubs in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Anchorage and is known for low fares, excellent service and sustainability efforts. Along with their Global Partners, Alaska Airlines’ guests can earn and redeem miles on flights to more than 800 global destinations. On March 31, 2021, Alaska Airlines will become a member of the oneworld global alliance. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are subsidiaries of the Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK).
Source: Alaska Airlines